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Showing posts with label gastroenterology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gastroenterology. Show all posts

Pathogenesis of Drug-Induced Hepatitis: A Deeper Insight

Drug-induced hepatitis, also known as drug-induced liver injury (DILI), is a condition marked by liver damage caused by drugs or other chemical substances. This is a serious health issue, given that the liver plays a vital role in metabolizing drugs and eliminating toxins. Understanding the pathogenesis of drug-induced hepatitis is crucial for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. This article explores the mechanisms involved in the development of drug-induced hepatitis and its implications.

I. Pathogenesis of Drug-Induced Hepatitis

Direct Hepatotoxicity

Some drugs can cause liver injury through direct hepatotoxicity. In this case, the drug or its metabolites are inherently toxic to liver cells (hepatocytes). The process typically involves oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage, and disruption of cell membranes leading to cell death. Drugs like acetaminophen, when taken in large doses, are well-known to cause direct hepatotoxicity.

Idiosyncratic Hepatotoxicity

Contrary to direct hepatotoxicity, idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity is not dose-dependent and is unpredictable, occurring only in a small fraction of individuals taking the drug. This reaction can be either cytotoxic, where the drug or its metabolite directly injures the liver cells, or immunoallergic, where the drug induces an immune response that targets the liver.

II. Mechanisms Involved in Drug-Induced Hepatitis

Oxidative Stress

Most drugs undergo metabolism in the liver. Some drugs or their metabolites can generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to oxidative stress. This imbalance can damage cellular structures, including lipids, proteins, and DNA, contributing to cell death and inflammation.

Mitochondrial Damage

Some drugs can interfere with mitochondrial function, disrupting the electron transport chain and ATP production. This can result in increased ROS production and trigger cell death pathways leading to hepatocyte necrosis or apoptosis.

Immune-Mediated Injury

In some instances, the drug or its metabolites may act as haptens, binding to liver proteins and forming adducts. These adducts can be recognized as foreign by the immune system, triggering an immune response that results in liver damage.

III. Clinical Implications and Management of Drug-Induced Hepatitis

Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase an individual's risk of developing drug-induced hepatitis. These include the drug's chemistry and dosage, the individual's age, sex, genetics, and the presence of pre-existing liver disease.


Diagnosing drug-induced hepatitis can be challenging due to the wide range of potential symptoms and the difficulty in distinguishing it from other forms of liver disease. A thorough medical history, including detailed information about all medications taken, is essential.

Management and Treatment

Management typically involves immediately discontinuing the offending drug. In some cases, supportive care or specific antidotes (e.g., N-acetylcysteine for acetaminophen toxicity) may be required. The prognosis varies, but most patients recover fully after the offending drug is discontinued.

The pathogenesis of drug-induced hepatitis involves complex interactions between the drug and the individual's metabolism and immune response. Understanding these mechanisms is key to predicting, diagnosing, and treating this condition. With the increasing number of medications on the market, awareness and knowledge about drug-induced hepatitis are critical for healthcare providers to ensure the safe use of medications and manage their potential hepatotoxic effects.

Covalently Closed Circular DNA: An Intricate Molecular Entity


Covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) represents a unique category of DNA molecules that exist as closed loops without free ends. This fascinating configuration is highly stable, evades cellular mechanisms for detecting DNA damage, and plays a critical role in the life cycle of many viruses, particularly hepatitis B virus (HBV). This article aims to delve into the structure and features of cccDNA, its role in viral pathogenesis, and its implications for research and therapeutics.

I. Structure and Features of Covalently Closed Circular DNA

Structure of cccDNA

The structure of cccDNA is distinct from linear DNA or open circular DNA. As the name suggests, it forms a covalently closed ring structure without free ends. Each of its two strands (sense and antisense) is covalently sealed, forming a continuous loop.

Stability of cccDNA

The closed circular configuration of cccDNA confers significant stability, enabling it to persist within cells for extended periods. Its unique topology prevents recognition and processing by cellular mechanisms designed to detect and repair damaged DNA.

II. Role of Covalently Closed Circular DNA in Viral Pathogenesis

Hepatitis B Virus and cccDNA

In the life cycle of HBV, cccDNA plays a central role. Upon infection, the virus delivers partially double-stranded relaxed circular DNA (rcDNA) into the host cell's nucleus. This rcDNA is then converted into cccDNA, serving as a template for the synthesis of viral mRNA and pregenomic RNA. The persistence of cccDNA in hepatocytes allows for chronic HBV infection.

Other Viruses and cccDNA

Beyond HBV, other viruses such as the Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) and certain papillomaviruses also utilize cccDNA as part of their life cycle. Moreover, cccDNA intermediates are crucial for the integration of retroviruses, like HIV, into the host genome.

III. Implications for Research and Therapeutics

Challenges in HBV Treatment

The persistent nature of cccDNA presents significant challenges in the treatment of chronic HBV infection. Current antiviral therapies can suppress HBV replication but cannot effectively eliminate cccDNA. As a result, HBV infection can reactivate when treatment is discontinued.

Future Therapeutic Approaches

There is an increasing focus on developing therapies that can target cccDNA. Strategies include inhibiting the formation of cccDNA, destabilizing existing cccDNA, and inducing host immune responses against cells harboring cccDNA. However, these strategies are still in experimental stages.

Research Applications

cccDNA serves as an important tool in molecular biology research, particularly in the creation of recombinant plasmids and the study of gene regulation and DNA topology.

Covalently closed circular DNA, with its distinctive structural attributes and stability, plays a crucial role in the life cycle of several viruses, including HBV. Its persistence in infected cells poses a significant challenge for the eradication of chronic viral infections. However, increasing knowledge about cccDNA is guiding the development of novel therapeutic approaches aimed at targeting this resilient molecular entity. Additionally, cccDNA serves as an invaluable tool for advancing research in molecular biology, gene regulation, and DNA topology.

Genetics of Wilson disease : A Comprehensive Overview

Wilson's disease is a genetic disorder characterized by an excess of copper stored in various body tissues, primarily the liver, brain, and eyes. This accumulation of copper leads to neurological or psychiatric symptoms and liver disease.

The genetic aspect of Wilson's disease lies in its autosomal recessive inheritance pattern. This means that an individual needs to inherit two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent, to develop the disease. If an individual receives only one copy of the faulty gene, they become carriers and generally do not show symptoms of the disease.

The ATP7B Gene

Wilson's disease is caused by mutations in the ATP7B gene located on chromosome 13. This gene encodes a protein, ATPase copper transporting beta (ATP7B), which is vital in the metabolism of copper in the body. Specifically, ATP7B is involved in the elimination of excess copper from the body and the incorporation of copper into ceruloplasmin, a protein that carries copper in the bloodstream.

Mutations in ATP7B

More than 500 different mutations in the ATP7B gene have been identified in people with Wilson's disease. These mutations disrupt the function of the ATP7B protein, impairing the body's ability to regulate copper transportation. Consequently, copper begins to accumulate in tissues, which leads to the various symptoms of Wilson's disease.

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing can identify mutations in the ATP7B gene, which can confirm a diagnosis of Wilson's disease, particularly in people with ambiguous clinical features. However, as there are many possible mutations and some are yet undiscovered, a negative genetic test doesn't necessarily rule out the disease.

The genetics of Wilson's disease involve the inheritance of two copies of a mutated ATP7B gene. This mutation disrupts the normal functioning of the ATP7B protein, causing copper to accumulate in the body. The ability to identify these mutations through genetic testing can aid in the diagnosis and management of this disease. However, due to the large number of potential mutations, genetic testing alone is not definitive in diagnosing Wilson's disease. It should be used in conjunction with clinical evaluation and other diagnostic tests.

Histological Changes in Ulcerative Colitis: A Comprehensive Overview

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that primarily affects the colon and rectum, causing inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. This condition can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life, with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Histological examination of affected tissues plays a vital role in diagnosing, classifying, and understanding the disease's progression. This article delves into the histological changes observed in ulcerative colitis, the role these changes play in disease progression, and their clinical significance.

I. The Basics of Ulcerative Colitis Histology

Histological Layers of the Colon

The colon is composed of several histological layers, including the mucosa, submucosa, muscularis propria, and serosa. The mucosa is further divided into three sub-layers: the epithelium, lamina propria, and muscularis mucosae.

Key Histological Features of UC

The histological hallmarks of ulcerative colitis include inflammation and ulceration confined to the mucosa and submucosa, crypt architectural abnormalities, and goblet cell depletion.

II. Histological Changes in Ulcerative Colitis


In UC, the inflammation is typically continuous and limited to the colon and rectum. The affected mucosa appears hyperemic, edematous, and friable, with inflammatory infiltrates observed in the lamina propria. Infiltrates primarily consist of lymphocytes, plasma cells, and neutrophils.


Ulcers in UC are characteristically superficial and occur as a result of the destruction of the epithelial lining. They range from pinpoint to larger, confluent areas of ulceration. As the disease progresses, ulcers may deepen, reaching the submucosa and causing severe complications such as perforation.

Crypt Architectural Abnormalities

A key histological feature of UC is crypt distortion and irregularities. Affected crypts may appear shortened, irregularly spaced, or branched. Additionally, crypt abscesses, which are collections of neutrophils within the crypt lumen, are a common finding.

Goblet Cell Depletion

Goblet cells, which produce mucus to protect the intestinal lining, are notably reduced in UC. This depletion impairs the protective mucous barrier, increasing susceptibility to injury and inflammation.


Non-caseating granulomas, consisting of compact aggregates of epithelioid histiocytes, are rare in UC but may be seen in a small subset of patients. Their presence may signify a concurrent or overlapping Crohn's disease.

III. Clinical Significance of Histological Changes

Diagnostic Role

Histological examination of biopsies obtained during colonoscopy is essential for the accurate diagnosis of UC. Differentiating between UC and other IBDs, such as Crohn's disease, is crucial for proper treatment and management.

Disease Classification

Histological findings can be used to classify the severity of UC as mild, moderate, or severe, which helps tailor treatment strategies.

Assessing Treatment Response

Periodic histological evaluations can aid in monitoring the patient's response to treatment and determine the need for changes in therapy.

Detecting Dysplasia and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Long-standing UC increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Histological surveillance through regular colonoscopies and biopsies can help detect early dysplastic changes and allow for timely intervention.

Unveiling the Mechanisms of Normal Gastric Motility: A Key Player in Digestion

Gastric motility, the coordinated muscular contractions of the stomach, is a vital process that facilitates proper digestion and nutrient absorption. It involves a complex interplay of muscles, nerves, and hormonal signals to ensure the efficient breakdown of food and onward passage to the small intestine. Understanding the mechanisms underlying normal gastric motility is essential for comprehending digestive function and identifying abnormalities that may lead to gastrointestinal disorders. In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of normal gastric motility and shed light on its intricate processes.

The Phases of Gastric Motility:

Fasting (Interdigestive) Phase:

During the fasting phase, the stomach exhibits periodic contractions known as migrating motor complexes (MMCs). MMCs play a crucial role in cleansing the stomach of residual food particles and preventing bacterial overgrowth. These contractions sweep through the stomach in a coordinated fashion, propelling any remaining food into the small intestine.

Receptive Relaxation:

Upon ingestion of a meal, the stomach undergoes a receptive relaxation response. This reflex-mediated relaxation, triggered by the act of swallowing, allows the stomach to accommodate and expand to accommodate the incoming food. This relaxation is facilitated by the vagus nerve and the release of nitric oxide.

Gastric Mixing:

Once the food enters the stomach, the gastric mixing phase begins. This phase involves rhythmic contractions of the stomach muscles, including the circular and longitudinal muscle layers. The contractions help break down the food into smaller particles and mix it with gastric secretions, forming a semi-liquid mixture called chyme.

Gastric Emptying:

Gastric emptying is the process by which chyme is gradually released from the stomach into the small intestine. It is a carefully regulated process influenced by various factors, including the consistency and composition of the meal. The rate of gastric emptying is coordinated by a complex interplay of hormones, including gastrin, cholecystokinin, and motilin, as well as neural inputs.

Regulatory Factors of Gastric Motility:

Hormonal Regulation:

Hormones such as gastrin, released from the stomach lining in response to food, stimulate gastric acid secretion and promote gastric motility. Cholecystokinin, secreted by the small intestine, slows gastric emptying and facilitates nutrient absorption. Motilin, released by the duodenum, enhances gastric contractions during the interdigestive phase.

Neural Control:

The autonomic nervous system, comprising the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, plays a pivotal role in regulating gastric motility. Parasympathetic impulses, primarily mediated by the vagus nerve, stimulate gastric contractions and promote gastric emptying. Sympathetic stimulation, on the other hand, inhibits gastric motility.

Intrinsic Neural Control:

The stomach contains an intrinsic network of nerve cells called the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS coordinates local reflexes within the stomach, modulating gastric motility. These reflexes can respond to factors such as the stretch of the stomach wall and the chemical composition of the chyme.

Normal gastric motility is a finely orchestrated process essential for effective digestion and nutrient absorption. The rhythmic contractions, coordinated by hormonal signals, neural inputs, and local reflexes, ensure the adequate breakdown and mixing of food within the stomach. From the fasting phase to gastric emptying, each phase of gastric motility contributes to the efficient processing of ingested food.

Physiology of vitamin B12 absorption

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various physiological processes, including DNA synthesis, red blood cell production, and neurological function. Absorption of vitamin B12 occurs primarily in the small intestine and involves several intricate steps.

The physiology of vitamin B12 absorption can be summarized as follows:

  1. Dietary Intake: Vitamin B12 is obtained through the consumption of animal-derived foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Plant-based sources do not naturally contain vitamin B12, but fortified foods and supplements are available for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets.
  2. Release from Food: In the stomach, hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen are secreted to initiate digestion. These gastric secretions help release vitamin B12 from the food matrix, allowing it to bind with proteins present in the food.
  3. Binding to Salivary R-Binders: Once in the small intestine, vitamin B12 encounters salivary R-binders (also called haptocorrins), which are proteins released from the salivary glands. R-binders bind to vitamin B12, protecting it from degradation by stomach acid and enzymes. This binding also facilitates the transport of vitamin B12 through the digestive tract.
  4. Pancreatic Enzyme Release: In the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, pancreatic enzymes are released, including pancreatic proteases. These enzymes break down the R-binders, freeing vitamin B12 from their complex.
  5. Binding to Intrinsic Factor (IF): Intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein secreted by the gastric parietal cells in the stomach, plays a crucial role in vitamin B12 absorption. Once vitamin B12 is released from the R-binders, it binds tightly to intrinsic factor, forming the vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex.
  6. IF-B12 Complex Absorption: In the lower part of the small intestine, specifically in the ileum, the vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex binds to specific receptors on the surface of epithelial cells lining the intestinal wall. These receptors facilitate the uptake of the complex into the cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis.
  7. Release from IF: Once inside the epithelial cells, the vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex is transported to lysosomes, where it undergoes degradation. This process results in the release of free vitamin B12 from intrinsic factor.
  8. Binding to Transcobalamin II (TCII): Within the epithelial cells, free vitamin B12 binds to a transport protein called transcobalamin II (TCII). The vitamin B12-TCII complex protects the vitamin during its transport to various tissues and organs through the bloodstream.
  9. Delivery to Tissues: In the bloodstream, the vitamin B12-TCII complex travels to various tissues, including the liver, bone marrow, and nervous system, where vitamin B12 is actively taken up by cells to fulfill its physiological functions.

It's important to note that the absorption of vitamin B12 relies on the proper functioning of several components, including gastric acid secretion, intrinsic factor production, and the presence of a healthy ileum for receptor-mediated uptake. Any disruption in these processes can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can result in various health complications, including megaloblastic anemia and neurological disorders.

Rifaximin: A Versatile Antibiotic with Broad Therapeutic Applications


Antibiotics have revolutionized modern medicine, providing effective treatment options for bacterial infections. One such versatile antibiotic is Rifaximin, which has gained attention for its unique properties and broad therapeutic applications. Rifaximin belongs to the class of rifamycin antibiotics and has demonstrated efficacy in various gastrointestinal and hepatic conditions. In this article, we delve into the characteristics, mechanism of action, and clinical applications of Rifaximin.

Characteristics of Rifaximin:

Rifaximin exhibits several notable characteristics that contribute to its therapeutic versatility. Firstly, it is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, meaning it is effective against a wide range of bacterial species. It demonstrates excellent activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile, and other pathogens commonly implicated in gastrointestinal infections.

Furthermore, Rifaximin has remarkable stability in the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike many other antibiotics, it is minimally absorbed into the systemic circulation after oral administration. This characteristic allows for its targeted action within the gastrointestinal tract while minimizing potential systemic side effects.

Mechanism of Action:

The mechanism of action of Rifaximin sets it apart from other antibiotics. It selectively targets bacterial RNA synthesis by binding to the β-subunit of bacterial DNA-dependent RNA polymerase. This binding prevents the formation of the RNA polymerase complex, thereby inhibiting the transcription of bacterial RNA and subsequent protein synthesis. By disrupting essential bacterial processes, Rifaximin effectively suppresses bacterial growth and replication.

Clinical Applications:

  • Traveler's Diarrhea: Rifaximin has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of traveler's diarrhea, a common gastrointestinal ailment. It has shown the ability to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), the most common bacterial pathogen responsible for traveler's diarrhea.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D): Rifaximin has emerged as a promising therapeutic option for patients with IBS-D. Clinical studies have shown that Rifaximin can alleviate the symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea associated with this condition. The exact mechanism of action in IBS-D remains under investigation, but it is believed that Rifaximin's modulation of gut microbiota and reduction of bacterial overgrowth play a role in its efficacy.
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy: Rifaximin has also found utility in the management of hepatic encephalopathy (HE), a neurological complication of liver cirrhosis. By targeting the gut microbiota, Rifaximin reduces the production and absorption of ammonia, a key contributor to the development of HE. Clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy in preventing HE recurrence and improving cognitive function in patients with liver cirrhosis.
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): Rifaximin has shown promise in the treatment of SIBO, a condition characterized by an abnormal overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. By directly targeting the bacterial overgrowth, Rifaximin helps restore the balance of gut flora and alleviates associated symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and malabsorption.

Rifaximin is a versatile antibiotic with a unique mechanism of action and remarkable therapeutic potential. Its broad-spectrum activity, minimal systemic absorption, and targeted action within the gastrointestinal tract make it an effective treatment option for various gastrointestinal and hepatic conditions. As research continues, further understanding of Rifaximin's mechanisms and potential applications may unveil additional therapeutic uses, solidifying its place as a valuable tool in the fight against bacterial infections.

Pancreatic Acinar Cell: The Exocrine Workhorse of the Pancreas


The pancreas, an organ nestled deep within the abdomen, plays a crucial role in digestion and the regulation of blood sugar levels. While the endocrine function of the pancreas, involving the production of insulin and glucagon, garners significant attention, the exocrine component, facilitated by pancreatic acinar cells, deserves recognition for its essential contribution to digestion.

Pancreatic acinar cells are the workhorses of the exocrine pancreas, responsible for the production and secretion of digestive enzymes. These cells constitute the majority of the pancreatic exocrine tissue and are organized into clusters called acini, resembling bunches of grapes. Each acinar cell boasts an impressive arsenal of enzymes, including amylase, lipase, trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen, and many others.

The synthesis and secretion of digestive enzymes by pancreatic acinar cells are tightly regulated processes. It begins with the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where ribosomes actively synthesize the precursor forms of enzymes. These precursors undergo complex modifications within the ER, including signal peptide cleavage, folding, and glycosylation. After processing in the ER, the enzymes are transported to the Golgi apparatus for further refinement.

Once in the Golgi apparatus, the enzyme precursors encounter proteolytic enzymes that cleave them into their mature and active forms. The Golgi apparatus also adds specific molecular tags, such as zymogen granule membrane proteins, to facilitate their packaging and transport. The modified enzymes, now contained within zymogen granules, are ready for secretion.

Upon receiving the appropriate stimuli, such as the presence of food in the digestive tract, pancreatic acinar cells undergo exocytosis. The zymogen granules fuse with the plasma membrane, releasing their contents into a network of pancreatic ducts that ultimately connect to the duodenum. Within the duodenum, the enzymes mix with other digestive juices, contributing to the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into smaller molecules that can be absorbed and utilized by the body.

Pancreatic acinar cells exhibit remarkable functional plasticity. They can adapt to dietary changes by adjusting their enzyme production. For example, a diet rich in fats prompts an increase in lipase synthesis and secretion. Additionally, certain hormones, such as cholecystokinin and secretin, play crucial roles in regulating the activity of pancreatic acinar cells, ensuring optimal enzyme secretion in response to varying dietary needs.

While pancreatic acinar cells excel in their digestive role, they are not without vulnerabilities. Inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, can lead to the activation of digestive enzymes within the pancreas itself, causing tissue damage. Moreover, conditions like pancreatic cancer can disrupt the normal function of acinar cells, leading to a dysregulated production of enzymes.

Pancreatic acinar cells are the unsung heroes of the exocrine pancreas. Their diligent synthesis, modification, and secretion of digestive enzymes ensure efficient digestion and nutrient absorption. Without these industrious cells, our bodies would struggle to break down and extract vital nutrients from the food we consume. Through their exquisite functionality, pancreatic acinar cells exemplify the intricacies and significance of the exocrine component of the pancreas.

Describe the segmental anatomy of the normal liver. Discuss the process of liver regeneration after hepatic resection.

The liver is a complex organ that plays a vital role in various metabolic processes, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and the production of bile. It is divided into eight functional segments based on the distribution of blood vessels and bile ducts. Understanding the segmental anatomy of the liver is crucial for surgical procedures, such as hepatic resection, and for understanding liver regeneration.

The liver consists of two main lobes: the right lobe and the left lobe. Each lobe is further divided into functional segments, known as Couinaud segments or liver segments. The division is based on the hepatic veins, which act as natural anatomical boundaries.

Here is a breakdown of the segmental anatomy of the normal liver:

Right Lobe:

  1. Anterior segment (Segment VIII)
  2. Posterior segment (Segment V)
  3. Superior segment (Segment VII)
  4. Inferior segment (Segment VI)

Left Lobe:

  1. Superior segment (Segment IV)
  2. Medial segment (Segment IVa)
  3. Lateral segment (Segment II)
  4. Inferior segment (Segment III)

Each segment has its own blood supply, which consists of a branch of the hepatic artery and a branch of the portal vein. Additionally, each segment has its own biliary drainage, with bile ducts that eventually join to form the common bile duct.

Liver regeneration is a remarkable process that allows the liver to restore its mass and functionality after injury or surgical resection. After a hepatic resection, the remaining liver tissue undergoes a series of complex cellular events to compensate for the lost tissue. The process of liver regeneration can be summarized as follows:

  1. Parenchymal Cell Proliferation: The hepatocytes, which are the main functional cells of the liver, start to proliferate rapidly after resection. They enter the cell cycle and undergo multiple rounds of cell division to replace the lost tissue.
  2. Activation of Non-parenchymal Cells: Non-parenchymal cells, such as hepatic stellate cells and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, also play a crucial role in liver regeneration. These cells become activated and contribute to the regeneration process by secreting growth factors and extracellular matrix components.
  3. Angiogenesis: The formation of new blood vessels, known as angiogenesis, is a critical step in liver regeneration. It ensures an adequate blood supply to the regenerating liver tissue. Endothelial cells and growth factors stimulate the growth of new blood vessels.
  4. Remodeling and Restoration: As the regeneration progresses, the liver tissue undergoes remodeling to restore its normal architecture and functionality. The newly formed hepatocytes integrate into the existing liver tissue, and the liver gradually returns to its original size and function.

The process of liver regeneration is orchestrated by a complex network of molecular signals and interactions between different cell types. It is a highly regulated and dynamic process that can take several weeks to months, depending on the extent of the liver resection and the overall health of the individual.

Measurements of abdomen

  1. Abdominal girth should be measured at the level of umbilicus
  2. Periodic measurement is done to assess prognosis in ascites, paralytic ileus.
  3. Measure the distance between lower end of xiphisternum to umbilicus and from umbilicus to symphysis pubis. Normally umbilicus is in mid position, it is displaced down in ascites, upper abdominal mass, displaced upwards  in ovarian or pelvic tumors
  4. Spinoumbilical measurement - It is the  distance between umbilicus and anterior superior iliac spines. Normally they are equidistant. Shift of umbilicus to one side will occur in case of tumors that originating from the other side of the abdomen.

Causes of Striae over the abdomen

Striae is due to stretching of the abdominal wall that is severe enough to cause rupture of the elastic fibres in the skin and produces pink linear marks with a wrinkled appearance indicates recent change in the size of abdomen.

Striae types:
White striae or striae albicans  is seen in 

  • Obese persons who lost weight suddenly
  • Following pregnancy 
  • Relieving ascites
Purple striae usually represent the rupture of subepidermal connective tissue seen in
  • Recent or past abdominal distension
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Prolonged steroid therapy
Broad silvery lines (striae gravidarum) are seen after repeated pregnancies.

Significance of examination of Skin over the abdomen

Examine for the following in the skin over abdomen
  • Moles, seborrhocic warts, angiomas (considered normal changes).
  • Scars
  • Haemorrhagic spots, marking for paracentesis abdominis (benzene stain or cotton scall)  parietal oedema, shininess etc.
  • Vesicle of herpes zoster – produces abdominal pain which mimic acute abdomen
  • Examine for Striae
  • Erythema Ab Igne - Is a brown mottled pigmentation produced by constant application of heat.
  • Pigmentation of midline below the umbilicusis the Linea nigra in pregnancy
  • Bruising over the periumbilicus and flanks noted  in hemorrhagic pancreatitis [Cullen's sign and Grey Turner's sign respectively).
  • Prominent superficial veins: Distended veins around umbilicus (caput medusae) signifies portal hyper tension, but this  is rarely seen.

Inspection of abdomen

Patient should lie flat with one pillow under the head and the abdomen is exposed from the xiphisternum to the pubic symphysis.
Start inspecting the abdomen and note the following features.
Shape of abdomen
Normal shape of abdomen is scaphoid in supine position, moves freely with respiration in vertical direction. No visible mass, no visible peristalsis except in thin individual.

Causes of scaphoid (sunken) abdomen :
  1. Severe dehydration.
  2. Emaciation or cachexia.
  3. Starvation.
  4. Tuberculous peritonitis.
  5. Malignant peritonitis.
  6. Meningitis.
Skin over the abdomen
Distension of abdomen
Dilated vein over the abdomen 
Examination of umbilicus 

Pulsations of the abdomen
Visible pulsation of abdominal aorta is noted in thin persons.
Epigastric pulsation  are noticed in
  1. Aortic aneurysm.
  2. Right ventricular enlargement
  3. Vascular tumors of the liver.
Movement of abdominal wall
To surprise the patient and to impress the examiners, squat down beside the bed so that the patient's abdomen is at eye level.
Ask him to take slowly take deep breaths through the mouth and watch for the movement of the abdomen.
Normally - Gentle rise in inspiration and fall in expiration
Markedly decreased or absent in peritonitis still silent abdomen.

Scar over the abdomen
  1. Old scar - White in colour
  2. Recent scar are Pink due to the presence of vascularity
Hair over the abdomen
  1. Secondary sexual hair - Seen in male after puberty and adults
  2. Absence of  secondary sexual hair - Indicates hypogonadism
  3. Presence of secondary sexual hair - Above inguinal line in female indicate virilising tumors.
Pigmentation of scar seen in Addison's disease.

Causes of abdominal distension

Distension of abdomen is of two types :
  • Generalised 
  • Localised (visceromegaly, neoplasm  shifting dullness is absent).
Generalised fullness - all the causes of this will start with the letter ' F'
  • Fat
  • Flatus
  • Fluid
  • Foetus 
  • Faeces
Differential diagnosis  of bulging or distension of abdomen :
Fat - Obesity (inverted umbilicus with absent fluid thrill and shifting dullness).
Faeces - Megacolon or low gut obstruction (symmetrical enlargement with visible peristalsis).
Foetus - Pregnancy (foetal parts are palpable: central dullness).
Flatus - Gaseous distension (flanks are not bulged: tympanitic note all over the abdomen).
Fluid - Ovarian cyst, ascites.
Full (urinary) bladder (flanks are tympanitic, palpation causes pain or discomfort and desire for
micturition: usually rounded cystlc swelling in hypogastrium which is dull on percussion :
Localised fullness is noted around umbilicus in Mesenteric cyst and Small intestinal obstruction
Asymmetrical fullness is observed in massive hepatomegaly, splenomegaly and ovarian tumor
Hernia - It is a protrusion of viscus through an abnormal opening .The different types are Incisional hernia, umbilical hernia, inguinal hernia.

How to examine for Spider Naevus an OSCE guide

Spider Naevus is a sign of liver cell failure.Sometime seen in healthy Individuals also.
1. Ask the patient to adequately expose.
2. Examine the- face. neck, arms and chest above the nipples
3. Blanch the spider naevus using the head of a pin or a glass slide.          
4. Release pressure to look for flushing.
5. Comment as present or not.
If present, significant or not significant.
Note the following
  • Count the naevi above the level of the nipples i.e. in the drainage area of the superior vena cava.
  • Less than 7 spider naevi are normal in young persons
  • More than 7 occur in liver cell failure pregnancy  or in persons on oral contraceptive
  • Spider naevus occurs because of the dilatation of a central arteriole (the body of the spider) which feeds the vessels radiating from it (the legs of the spider). If a red naevus does not blanch, it is purpura. Blanching occurs fully in erythema also and partially in telanglectasias.

These steps are very important for students preparing for USMLE and MRCP exams

What is Dyspepsia?

Dyspepsia is a term to denote a variety of alimentary symptoms arising form upper gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms  includes 
  • Upper abdominal pain ± related to food
  • Heart burn, regurgitation, water brash
  • Anorexia, nausea, vomiting
  • Early repletion and satiety after meals
  • Flatulence, belching and bloating.
Causes of dyspepsia
Organic dyspepsia
Functional dyspepsia
Organic causes of dyspepsia
  • Peptic oesophagitis
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Upper GI malignancy
  • Hepatobiliary disease
  • C/c pancreatitis
  • Other system disorders - CRF, CHF etc.
  • Drugs - NSAID, corticosteroids
  • Alcoholism, pregnancy
Functional dyspepsia [nonulcer dyspepsiaI
It is due to motor dysfunction of upper gastrointestinal tract mediated by neurohumoral mechanism
What are the Alarm features in Dyspepsia
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting
  • Hematemesis
  • Melaena
  • Dysphagia
  • Palpable abdominal mass.

Importance of past history in GIT

Past history is very important in gastrointestinal system

  • History of Jaundice indicate viral hepatitis
  • Drug intake - history of drug intake such as rifampicin. INH. anabolic steroids pills are risk factors for jaundice .NSAID intake for melena  or history of any herbal remedies
  • Blood transfusion or transfusion of any blood products (viral hepatitis C. D and G).
  • Recent tattooing or acupuncture: Drug abuse.to rule out viral hepatitis
  • Alcohol consumption predispose to cirrhosis
  • Tuberculosis can cause ascites due to tuberculous peritonitis.
  • Haematemesis or melena (peptic ulcer, ruptured oesophageal varices, gastric malignancy)-
  • Fever seen in tuberculosis, hepatocellular failure
  • Haematochczia occur due to lower G. 1. malignancy. haemorrhoid

Points to note in a renal lump :

Once the kidney is palpable examine for the folllowing
  • Site
  • Size.
  • Shape (ovoid normally).
  • Consistency (resilient or firm in feel).
  • Margins (rounded).
  • Surface (normally smooth surface: irregular in polycystic kidney).
  • Tenderness.
  • Movement with respiration (normally kidney shows slight movement with respiration).
  • Whether bimanually palpable and ballottable.
Renal angle tenderness
In case of left sided renal lump—Examine for band of colonic resonance over the lump (by
Remember, a kidney lump is bimanually palpable and ballottable. The kidney is ballottable
Because it is a posterior abdominal organ.

How to elicit Tenderness over the renal angle?

Patient is asked to sit and the angle formed by the 12th rib and lateral border of erector spinae muscle is pressed by the ball of the thumb—"Murphys kidney punch". This  test is done on both sides.
Renal  angle is tender in the following conditions
  • Acute pyelonephritis
  • Perinephric abscess
  • Nephrolithiasis, 
  • Tuberculosis of kidney

How to do palpation of kidney?

  • Lower Pole of right kidney is normally palpable.
  • Left kidney is usually not palpable unless either low in position or enlarged 
  • Though kidney is retroperitoneally situated, it moves with respiration as it is related to the crus of the diaphragm posteriorly, the movement of the diaphragm is reflected to kidney producing restricted movement during respiration.
  • Use bimanual technique to palpate the kidneys.
How to palpate the kidneys?
  • The lower pole of right kidney is commonly palpable in thin patients for obvious reasons. Previously it was told that left kidney is palpated best from left side but nowadays no such dogma is present.
  • Both the kidneys are palpated from right side of the patient. The method of palpation goes like this :
  • Preliminary preparations of the patient are the same as done during palpation of liver. Always sit on a stool for palpation of kidneys.
  • To palpate the right kidney, place the right hand horizontally in the right lumbar region anteriorly and the left hand is placed posteriorly in the right loin region (bimanual palpation)
  • Push the right hand in a backward, upward and inward direction, and ask the patient to take deep inspiration. A firm mass may be felt in between the two hands (if kidney is enlarged).
  • Next, a sharp tap is given by the left hand placed in the loin region. The anteriorly placed right hand now feels the kidney and the kidney then falls back (by gravity) on the posterior abdominal wall which is felt by the left hand. This is ballottement. Firm pressure is exerted by both hands at the height of inspiration to trap the palpable kidney between the two hands, otherwise it will prevent the descend of kidney by the diaphragm
  • The left kidney is then palpated by placing the right hand anteriorly and the left hand posterior- the left loin.